HG036+038. John 4:43-54
43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there. 46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” 49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.” 53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed. 54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
After such success in Samaria spending 2 days there he went to Galilee. What was the country that Jesus was from? Israel is the answer. So how do we make sense of the fact that Jesus has no honour in his own Country yet when He arrives He is received? The key is in the response to the request for healing. They received Him physically, perhaps even as a friend but they did not receive Him as a prophet or as Messiah. They stubbornly refused to believe that this man whom they had known for 30 odd years was the One sent from God. They received Him as one who is part of their larger family and though many had seen Him do many wondrous things in Jerusalem a few days earlier they were not about to accept Him as anything more than a carpenter. Hence the saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. This is in sharp contrast to how the Samaritans received Him. They invited Him in, heard Him and believed in Him. We do not hear these things happened in Galilee nor in Jerusalem where He was before where there were some spiky people especially from the religious leaders. Nicodemus, one of those religious leaders, was the exception and not the rule.
Is this not even the case today when we consider the Jews? They are not aware that their Messiah has been and gone. We read last week that salvation is of the Jews for they know whom they worship but curiously they did not receive Jesus. It wasn’t a complete whitewash for the early Church was Jewish, even meeting in the Temple for a time, but when we think in percentage terms this barely even registers.
And this is still true today where 2% of Israel is Christian and, of that, a very tiny margin is evangelical and those who are Christian Israelis are more likely to be Arab than Jew. This puts them near the bottom of the table in number of Christians for their ethnicity. And this despite all the evangelistic efforts of thousands of thousands of Christians. However, there are Christian fellowships made up of Jews in Israel and elsewhere. To this day, though, Jesus, one of their own, is not accepted as their Messiah, Prophet and King. Blindness has descended upon them. But, if I read Scripture right, many will come to faith in Him in the future.
Now, is there something that you desperately need? Is there a concern that is really troubling you? Is there something that needs sorting out? Then call the A-team! Cue A-Team theme music: “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them...maybe you can hire The A-Team”. Well, no and yes. Not THE A-Team for this is fictional but if we have a problem whether someone else can help or not we can find Him, the One who has the solution for all our ills. Why is it Jesus is only One to call upon when we have exhausted every other option?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
So, in our passage, we are introduced to a man who happened to be royalty, who happened to be rich but life had struck him a blow. It doesn’t matter whether you are very poor or very rich as was the man or somewhere between; trouble can come to all of us. Of course, if you are rich then there are certain things that do not trouble you such as where your next meal is going to come from, how to pay the mortgage, whether you can pay for latest smartphone and TV, whether the pension age is going to go up and so on, but there are things that can befall us all: especially illness in the family. I am sure we can all appreciate this. Almost all of us have seen those in our family get unwell and most of us have seen death.
We empathise with the desperation that this particular man felt knowing that he could do nothing at all to save his own son who was dying. Even in recent times, we can really feel for such a person as indeed we did for Charlie Gard and his family. They did everything in their power to stop Charlie from dying; to give him every chance to live, for it is not right for a child to die before the parents for it is not the natural order of things. This, though, is an everyday occurrence.
And so the Dad here is wanting to save his son. He travelled 15 or so miles to get Jesus to go to Capernaum. And this desperation is evident in what it says here; he begged Jesus to come and heal his son. He’s dying please come, please. Don’t say no. Please hear me, please.
Did Jesus give special privileges to those in royalty or are rich? In short, no. In fact it would even seem that Jesus was curt with him. Perhaps the father was expecting Him to go with him and so some special thing and had some other idea of how the healing of his son should come about. There is a story in the Old Testament of this kind of expectation:
A man named Naaman became leprous:
9 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ 12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.”
Elisha didn’t even go himself but sent someone else to give him instructions. I’m sure you get the slight apparently given. But Jesus also did nothing special, gave no out of the ordinary instruction but simply said: Go, your son will live.
I have been in healing services where extravagant things have taken place where people have fallen over backwards and some have been pushed and they have come forward to be prayed for by the person speaking because they have the ‘anointing’ on them. The God channel is full of such things if we want to see the spectacle for ourselves. But, what we find in Scripture, is none of this extravagance, it seems almost understated. Maybe a touch, maybe a command and that is it. No flash bangs, no soothing and emotional music but God Himself at work. It is God at work not man, all the glory should go to Him and Him alone and not to any healer. Perhaps it is healing that you need today. The last time I had someone came forward and were prayed for they were healed of their vertigo. Jesus still heals today and if you like I and any of the deacons who are here. I will call you forward for prayer before the last song, so be ready to come.
Well, what remarkable faith this man had, took Jesus at His word. I think that if I was the father, I might be inclined to ask again to make sure. Is that all you have to do and say and if I go he will be well? I want to be sure for it is my son’s life we’re talking about. But he asked no questions. He simply went back to Capernaum and found out that his son was now right as rain. How remarkable! And the time he suddenly got better was the same time as Jesus said he would be well. He already had confidence that this was going to be the case but, oh, the joy of finding out, his son is alive!
This was the second miracle performed in Cana which John calls a sign. What is it a sign of? That not only is Jesus Son of Man He is also Son of God. Only God can speak and for it to happen. In just the same way that God in Genesis said; ‘Let there be light’ and there was, instantly. Jesus is making it clear that He is no ordinary person. He is the spoken word, Jesus is:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
And that is why with the healing the whole family along with their servants and anyone else who lived in their house came to faith in Jesus. And I am sure others did too for they would not have been able to stop talking about it, the day Jesus said: Go and he will be well. It is also the reason we know about it. John, the writer of the Gospel was present for this conversation and he must have heard the result of it which is why it is recorded for us in this Gospel.
Do we take Jesus at His word? The promises of God are yes and amen. God always keeps His word. Always does what He says.
Jesus shows He has power over time and space. In the first sign in Cana water was turned into wine, it was done instantly for it was needed right there and right then. The same for the healing of the boy, though if the boy had died Jesus would have easily been able to bring him back to life. He did not need to be physically present to heal the boy, Her healed him over a distance for Jesus is Lord over time and space.
Jesus is present with us, right here, right now. He is not here in body but in Spirit but He is here.
Is there a healing that you need? Something that you are desperate for God to do something about? Then He is here to hear and to heal; to deliver; to help.
In the 3rd verse of the song we will end with today it says ‘Be still we sing Be still for the power of the Lord is here, He come to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace.’ What do you need? Will you take God at His word today and believe?
Jesus is present to heal. Do we believe? Don’t put your trust in me for I am no one but I can pray for your healing in the name of Jesus. Perhaps this is something you have never seen here but if you need prayer please come forward and I will pray. Those who do not need to come forward, please pray quietly and soon we will end the service and sing ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord is here’.
Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Beitzel, B. J., & Lyle, K. A. (Eds.). (2016). Lexham Geographic Commentary on the Gospels. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Elwell, W. A. (1995). Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 14:15 11 August 2017.